Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Oklahoma Baptist University


At the first meeting of the Oklahoma Baptist General Convention, November 9, 1906, the Oklahoma Baptist State Convention and the Baptist General Convention of Indian Territory consolidated, and a Commission on Christian Education was appointed. In 1907 the commission reported "that as soon as practicable a new Baptist University be established." The convention mandated that all trustees must be active members of an Oklahoma Baptist congregation and elected by the convention. By 1910 the Board of Trustees of Oklahoma Baptist University accepted the city of Shawnee's offer of sixty acres of land and $100,000 for the first building.

Under Pres. J. M. Carroll classes began on September 11, 1911, in the First Baptist Church and municipal buildings. Lack of suitable facilities and a large deficit forced the school to suspend operations in May 1912 until a building was completed. Classes resumed on September 14, 1915. Seven presidents, all of whom worked diligently to overcome financial adversity, preceded Dr. John W. Raley, elected president on May 22, 1934. Under his twenty-eight-year leadership Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) became a four-year coeducational institution, achieving accreditation by North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools on February 17, 1956. In 1952 OBU initiated the first basic baccalaureate nursing program in Oklahoma. In 1981 the Schools of Christian Service, Nursing, and Business joined the College of Arts and Sciences and the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts to provide academic programs.

During the sixteen-year term of Dr. Bob R. Agee, 1994 fall enrollment climbed to 2,440, the highest in the university's history. At the turn of the twenty-first century the campus had grown to thirty major buildings on 189 acres, and the academic program had received a top-ten rating in the category "Comprehensive Colleges–Bachelor's" in the western United States for ten consecutive years.

J. Thomas Terry



Marvin Gaskin et al., The View from Bison Hill: 75 Years of Remembrance (Shawnee: Oklahoma Baptist University, 1985).

James N. Owens, Annals of O. B. U. (Shawnee, Okla.: Bison Press, 1956).

Proceedings of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, 1906–95.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society (unless otherwise stated).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
J. Thomas Terry, "Oklahoma Baptist University," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed November 14, 2018).

About the encyclopedia | Terms of use | Using the encyclopedia